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"You made the statement that you have never had from any one a satisfactory answer to the question: What determines the gender of a new word in the French language? Perhaps this will give you the information. friend of mine told me in Senlis, Oise, in 1918, that the French Academy decided that the word 'automobile' should be feminine, because (at that time) you could never tell what an automobile was going to do."

George T. Lambert, of Lebanon, N. J., writes:


"The inquiry of Dr. Phelps minds me of a certain gentleman who lived in a cow-town down on the Santa Fe, whose knowledge of dry goods was better than it was of cattle. Having bought what had been represented to him as a fine young milk cow, he was bragging of his purchase to a ranch customer and asked him to come out and look her over. 'What did you give for her, Julius?' asked Tim. 'Only $75; I got her dirt cheap.' 'Seventyfive dollars! Why, hell, man,' says Tim, 'that's an old cow. I bet she is beginning to shed her teeth; let's look at her mouth. See, she hasn't got a tooth left on the upper jaw,' and the ranch man lifted up the lip, and the merchant, fully convinced that he had been badly stung, sold the cow for $35. (The 'toothless' animal was five years old.)"

G. W. Thorne, Newark, N. J., tells me an excellent story about a certain similarity between an English and a French word:

"In 1910 my nephew and I arrived in Paris at 2 o'clock in the morning and later went to the Gare St. Lazare to get our trunks. We knew nothing of French and the porters at the station could not speak English. After failing to make them know what we wanted my nephew in despair exclaimed 'Oh b'gosh!' 'mmediately a porter replied 'Oui, bahgahz; oui, oui, bahgahz!' And soon he brought the trunk. We never knew before that the French language contains the word 'baggage' or how it is pronounced."

An original book that helps to ex

plain some mysteries in bodily and mental activity is Human Vibration, by Conrad Richter. It gives a reason for two facts I never before comprehended. Why is it that when you feel almost too tired to change your clothes, you can go out, play three sets of tennis and feel after the exercise so much more vigorous than before? And why is it that when you feel really ill, you can give a public lecture or teach a class, and after this experi ence feel as though you had received a tremendous tonic? Well, Mr. Richter gives a scientific reason. Congenial work never hurt anybody. Activity, instead of producing fatigue, often cures it. Rest kills thousands every year.

The United States was fortunate last winter in having among its inhabitants Mr. and Mrs. John Galsworthy, who know where to find a good climate. Mr. Galsworthy wrote a brief and charming letter to a New York newspaper. It seems that this journal had stated that he was writing a novel of American life. Mr. Galsworthy dellcately suggested that with the trifling exception that it was not a novel but a play, and not on American but on English life, the news item was absolutely accurate.

A gentleman writing from the Cosmos Club, Washington, and signing himself "A Princeton Phi Beta Kappa Man," nominates these essays for the Ignoble Prize, saying he does not like a "self-advertising punster." Neither do I; but in order to be eligible for the Ignoble Prize the thing must be a generally acknowledged classic, which is not yet true of my works. Let me assure by brother in Phi Beta Kappa that he is in good company. I used to subscribe many years ago to a press clipping bureau, until I found in Life the following dialogue: "Papa, what is a press-clipping bureau?" "My son, you pay $5, and receive 100 insults." It occurred to me that I could obtain them cheaper.

Excerpts from "As I Like It" confined to comments about recent books will be published in an early issue of The Reader's Digest.

The Reader's Digest

“An article a day" from leading magazines
—each article of enduring value and inter-
est, in condensed, permanent booklet form.

Vol. 5


Serial No. 53


Continuing the Rhodes Scholar Idea

Condensed from The World's Work (July, '26)

Oscar N.

UIETLY, unostentatiously, a certain American gentleman recently inaugurated an international educational scheme which, unknown as yet to the public, will have a farreaching effect on American foreign relations. Incidentally, it was one of the reasons for the visit of the Prince of Wales to this country in 1924.

The gentleman is Edward S. Harkness, and his plan continues the exchange of students between Great Britain and the United States begun by the Rhodes Scholarship Fund. Mr. Harkness realized that for the main!tenance of British-American friendship, and for its translation into foreign relations, some personal contact › between the younger generation of each country and the people of the other was necessary. With this in mind, Mr. Harkness persuaded his fellow-directors of the Commonwealth Fund of the value of the plan-but I am getting ahead of my story.

The assumption that similarity of thought and action follows upon common language and institutions often leads to dangerous errors in international relations. The common language, when spoken, even accentuates the difference between us. From the


time of the American Revolution our two nations have followed their own paths, more often divergent than parallel. It took the war to reveal the fact that in the final test our conceptions of freedom in international relations were the same, and that to preserve them we had to stand side by side. It is a fraternity of no mean strength that unites us in the memory of a great sacrifice. Nevertheless, it was realized that British and Americans, across the ocean, may misunderstand and even dislike each other.

One evening I attended a banquet of the American University Union 'n London, at which the Prince of Wales spoke. He made a significant plea in his speech when he said "I wish there could be a few British students at each of your universities and colleges that make up this Union, that we might better learn about your country and your people." I had an opportunity later of discussing with him this part of his speech, and found that he was enthusiastically interested in any plan that would give an opportunity of contact in work, study, and play between young British students and our people.

The Prince had decided to make another visit to the country of which

he had such happy recollections and with which he was anxious that his own should be on the friendliest terms. Such an educational plan had to be carried out by American initiative and American money, as the Rhodes Scholarship Fund had been conceived and put into effect by an Englishman. The Prince was more than willing to function personally as the head of the British selection board of such an educational plan. This would mean everything to the success of the plan in Great Britain. So it came about, and here is told for the first time publicly one of the objects of the visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to the United States in 1924.

Soon after the Prince arrived Mr. Harkness was introduced to him, and they talked of the need for more contact between the British and Americans. A quiet luncheon was arranged, and later a long automobile ride. Mr. Harkness had been anxious for some time to try an experiment in international education that would have, besides its curriculum, a value in better relationship. The Prince was anxious to help obtain for the achievement of this experiment the most representative types of British student.

The plan finally adopted provides 20 fellowships each year. Each fellowship is for two years, with the possibility of a third being added when good reasons are shown. Candidates must be British subjects domiciled in England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland, and graduates of a recognized university there. They may be either men or women, and must be unmarried and under 30 years of age. The Fellows may go to any one of the 26 universities in the United States that are members of the Association of American Universities, with the single limitation that not more than three Fellows may go to the same university in any one year. An important provision is that each Fellow shall have at least three months' travel in the United States at the close of his first year of study. The approximate allowance for each fellowship is $3000.

By the late summer of 1925 there were 20 students in this country, dis tributed from Harvard to the Univer sity of California. These young men are keen and intelligent observers, liv. ing and studying with the undergradu. ates of our colleges and with time and opportunity to come into contact with the people of near-by communities. Indeed, these outside contacts constitute a very important part of the student's life here. He sees what our society looks like at close range. Americans living their own lives in their own homes are vastly different from themselves off on a jaunt to "do Europe."

This ex

I am thoroughly convinced that the average American understands the British people and their problems much better than the British understand us. During the war Americans went to Europe two million strong. perience taught them much about the British soldiers and their homeland, where many of our men trained. Since the war the annual exodus of Ameri cans to the United Kingdom is greater than ever, and they live by the thonsands in London and the provinces. American newspapers, even in our smallest cities, have comprehensive news and excellent editorials concerning British events.

The contrary is not true. The British do not travel in the United States except in small numbers. They do not live here. British newspapers, beyond sensational items, do not carry regula news or enlightening comment on the growing nation across the ocean. Add ed to this is the fact that the Unite States is difficult to understand b peoples of the Old World, because i is a young country in the formativ stages, made up of an influx of people of many nations, in spite of their d velopment under many English inst tutions.

The Commonwealth Fund director understood this. These men have suf stituted practical application for th oretical discussion. Every-day conta in work and pleasure is a sound wa to mutual understanding.


"So You're An American!"

Condensed from The Independent (July 24, '26)
Harbor Allen

ERR PREISING, a newspaper editor in Berlin, introduced himself to me by exclaiming: "So you're an American." I had learned to look upon the phrase as one of sinister import; but we found that we really liked each other and, little by little, I came to feel at utter ease in the Preising home. They were charming, the Preisings.


They invited me to a new play which, to our amazement, dealt with an American woman of wealth married to a German Junker. The heiress, unhappy over the brutality of her husband, flees with her child to the United States, only to return in Act II, years later, with her Americanized - grown to manhood. And now the fun begins. The boy chases the butler around the palace crying: "Hurry up, hurry up. Get a moof on." He wears his hat indoors. He sits with his feet on the table. He carries a portable victrola, which, as he moves about, plays Irving Berlin's latest hymn to | beauty. He flashes a golden pen and dashes off checks for a million or so.

"Delightful! perfectly delightful!" - exclaimed Frau Preising after the show. "And that boy," she added, smiling up at me. "Wasn't he a typical American."


"Of course, I bought it. Everybody's reading it. Why it's the best seller in Germany today: Mein Leben und Meine Werke (My Life and Work), by Henry Ford."

"Yes, Trude, but don't you see, in America, among intelligent people Henry Ford is considered-well, nobody takes his books seriously. Whenever he expresses his views on anything outside of business and money, everybody with an atom of brains goes into convulsions. Of course, it's all right to read the book. Only don't go

running around afterwards thinking every American you meet is merely a smaller edition of Henry Ford. No matter where an American goes in Europe, he finds only one line of logic in the European's mind. 'Ah,' he thinks, 'so you're an American.' That means you have lots of money and no brains."

"But when we think of America," replied Trude, "we think of Henry Ford. Your painters are French, your novelists are English or Russian, your music is very sweet and insipid and nothing. And, consequently, what does Europe care for all of that? We have better painters, better novelists, better music. But what we don't have better is Henry Ford. When we try to produce a great captain of industry, he's like your writers and painters—an imitation. Ford shows us what America stands for: ignorance, materialism, bigotry, cultural sterility, I admit. But on the other hand, he stands for the genius of the American idea: force, energy, ingenuity, mass production. For good or for bad, he's your most representative, your greatest contribution to civilization."



We were traveling in Italy. compartment having grown sultry, I opened the door to the corridor. Whereupon the English woman humped up her prim shoulders and whispered to her husband. Before I could make a movement, he had reached across and banged the door shut. "If you don't mind," he boomed, with an aggressive look. I nodded, laid my paper aside, and strode out. Leaning against the partition in the cool corridor, I overheard the following dialogue:

She: What an unspeakably rude fellow. He couldn't have been English! He: He spoke English. Foreign ac

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"So? A real American?" they asked almost in unison; and immediately I was esconced in a sofa.

"The New York stage!" the bulky Munich actress ejaculated. "Tell me about it. I've heard so much of the revival of the theater in New York. Before the war I could have gone, but I scorned the offer. 'What?' I said. 'I go to America? I prostitute my art, my soul, before a lot of moneybags who have no discrimination, who make of Wagner a bazaar, a picnic, a gaudy display of diamonds. No. I stay here.' But now you're an American; tell me, it's different now, isn't it?"

"America! America!" interrupted the painter tartly. "I'll tell you, there is no art, no feeling for art in America. What do you expect to find in a land that has no artists, no geniuses?"

"What about Sargent?"

"Bah! Kleckserei-daubery!"

"Well-Whistler, then?"

"Whistler? Second-rate French."
"But you said geniuses.

Whitman," I insisted.


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such fine people coming to Venice. Not rich, you understand, but well read, cultured. They didn't need Baedekers. They knew what to look for here; they had read about it all their lives and planned for years to come. Now, that is changed. It's the nouveau riches that flock here now, to show off their styles, their diamonds. Heaven alone knows what they come here for. Certainly, not for what Venice has to give them: her age, her beauty, her gal. leries, her churches, her monuments of a great civilization. Ah, signor, these Americans that swarm all over Europe, they corrupt everything. They have no love, no reverence, no understanding. Money, that's all they have, money.

"Pardone, signor!" she cried, with a shamefaced expression. "I forgot you are an American.”

Choosing my subject, "The New America," I tried to explain to representatives of the Youth Movement what had happened in the United States during the last quarter of a century. The audience was polite but cool. When I finished I asked if there were any questions. Up leaped a young fellow with flowing hair and flowing tie and the pallid, dissipated face worn as escutcheon by artistic pretenders from the Latin Quarter.

"You talk of distinct American art, of distinct American life," he cried. "How can that be? You are not a distinct people. You are mongrel: Jew, Italian, Russian, Greek, Pole, China man, Negro, Turk. How can you ex pect anything pure and great to arise from a mixture like that, from a hash of all the scum of Europe and Asia? Who goes to America? Is it the edu cated people, the fine people? No, it's the lowest classes, the people who don' know any better, who care only for money and comfort. And now you com over here and tell us about jazz movies, machines, skyscrapers? want to take our souls from us, ou emotions, our love of freedom an beauty. You want to make us slaves t money. A bas les Americains!”


And then pandemonium broke loos

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